Certified Green

By Rachel Joseph, First Year Experience Intern


One simple change can make a huge difference.

For example, if every US household simply replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), power plants would decrease their greenhouse gas emissions by 90 billion pounds. That’s a lot of gas.

The simple act of replacing a light bulb with a CFL is one of 48 criteria included in IU’s Green Room Certification Program (GRCP). Complete 20 of these sustainable criteria, and your room is officially Green Certified!

All students living in an IU residence hall can participate in the GRCP and become a part of IU’s thriving culture of sustainability.


Green Certified students receive a free stylish, reusable, insulated, BPA-free water bottle, and a certificate to hang on their door, as a thank you for making environmentally-conscious decisions.

Additionally, not only do Green Certified students achieve the satisfaction of living a more sustainable lifestyle, but they are also lowering IU’s utility bill. Upgrading 15 incandescent light bulbs with CFLs saves about $50 in one year. Imagine if every light bulb in every IU residence center was a CFL! An impact like that has the potential to decrease the cost of living in the residence halls.

The Green Room Certification Program is certainly not limited to light bulbs. The 48 criteria are divided into eight distinct categories:


Example: Making the choice to not purchase a mini-fridge



Example: Turning the faucet off while brushing teeth



Example: Using the bus or a bike to get around campus



Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling

Examples: Doing homework on scrap paper, using reusable shopping bags, having at least one recycling bin in one’s room



Example: Printing documents using both sides of the paper



Example: Drying one’s clothes with a drying rack instead of the dryer



Example: Volunteer for a sustainability-related organization


Other/Submit Your Own

Example: Buy local and organic goods


The Green Room Certification Program provides students with the opportunity to make simple changes to their rooms and lifestyles that have a big impact on IU’s campus and the environment.  

The Greenest Floor Challenge adds a competitive edge to the GRCP. Each floor goes head-to-head with the other floors of their residence hall to achieve the greatest proportion of Green Certified rooms. The competition takes place over a three-week period, and the winning floor of every residence center wins a floor-wide pizza party!

Although I hope that one day, the lifestyle decisions included in the GRCP checklist will be automatic for incoming students, the program is still young. The GRCP was introduced in 2011 through a collaborative partnership between Residential Programs and Services (RPS), the Residence Hall Association (RHA), and IU’s Office of Sustainability (IUOS). At barely three-years-old, the Green Room Certification Program will surely grow within the residence halls of IU.

Some day soon, students will no longer need incentives to live sustainably, and they will carry their good habits, sustainable behaviors, and wise decisions with them for the rest of their lives.

To learn more about the program, visit the GRCP website.


IU student Hannah Coots poses next to her GRCP certificate after certifying her room.




GRCP Criteria Checklist Photo Credits (in order of appearance):











One thought on “Certified Green

  1. Everywhere you look these days it seems that the main message is, “go green and save money.” This is an appealing message for most people as we are constantly warned of the dire consequences of global warming out of control. People want to do their bit to help save the planet, and if they can save money at the same time, then it just obviously makes sense all round.

    You can go green and save money just about anywhere. Your home is probably the most obvious place to start, but you can also do wonders with your car, in the office, out shopping, traveling on vacation, and much more. The opportunities are almost endless; going green doesn’t have to be more expensive, you can definitely go green and save money at the same time…… Read further at http://greenninjas.org/save-money-by-going-green/

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